Parliamentary democracy reigns supreme

For many news outlets, the headline news was that Theresa May had lost her first Commons vote as Prime Minister.

Just 12 of her MPs was all it took to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, such are the perils of running a government without a parliamentary majority.

But for me, today was not so much about a weak prime minister losing a crucial vote, but instead about the very essence of parliamentary democracy.

Almost uniquely amongst Leave voters, it seems, I am delighted that Dominic Grieve’s amendment was passed.

After all, I voted for a departure, not a destination. I voted to leave the EU, not on any future relationship we may have with them after 29 March, 2019.

The EU has become so bloated it affects so many areas of our life that the idea we can simply walk away, or grudgingly accept a bad deal, is madness.

I don’t want that deal to be decided upon by a handful of ministers and civil servants alone.

Our parliamentary democracy means we elect members of parliament to speak and vote for us on important issues. Very few issues will be as important over the coming years as the withdrawal agreement.

Our MPs, our democratically elected representatives, must have the opportunity to scrutinise and debate any deal with Brussels before it is finalised. And if it is a bad deal, they must have the power to veto it.

After all, that’s what parliamentary democracy is all about.

And, while I would prefer to be able to have a direct say on the deal in a referendum, tonight we saw MPs guaranteeing the next best thing. 

Parliament has taken back control. Isn’t that what we voted Leave for on 23 June?

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